JUSTIN ANG (left)
School nickname: "Dustbin, which I got called the most just ’cos it rhymes with Justin. And there was also the occasional ‘Ang Ku Kueh’."
I was the student… "Who was always playing pranks and got pranked a lot too. I was the type whom teachers rolled their eyes at and concluded that this boy will never amount to much!"
My school uniform shirt was always tucked… “In, ’cos my school was very strict about the dress code. I hated wearing uniforms. They were so uncomfortable, smelly and hard to maintain. It was one of the main reasons why I chose to go to a polytechnic. You can wear whatever you want there! I would rather chop off a finger than go to junior college and wear a uniform."
The moment that defined my school experience: “I was from Victoria School, and back then it was a very sports-oriented school. Of course, I was a fat kid, so from day one I was thrown into the AOP (Anti Obesity Programme). Which meant no food during recess time. Instead I had to run 10 times around the football field. Pure misery. I lost enough weight in Secondary 4 to be finally kicked out of the programme, and it was the greatest day of my life. But as you can tell it’s all gone downhill since then!”
When it comes to bullying in school…"There was only a handful of students who would tease me about my weight, but nothing to get depressed about. I solved the problem by only surrounding myself with fat friends."
Most memorable encounter with the school discipline master: "I'll always remember the time I hosted my school’s Speech Day and the DM came up to tell me I did a great job. My DM was Mr Santokh Singh, who left shortly after I graduated and became an award-winning sports journalist, but sadly he passed away last year. He was very fierce and very serious but he had the respect of every student."
My school crush experience: "Walking to the bus-stop near my [all-boys] school to say hello and wink at the girls from the nearby Cedar Girls’ School. Incredibly, I ended up marrying a Cedar Girl though we never met during our school days!"
VERNON A (right)
School nickname: "Vernier caliper for obvious reasons."
I was the student… "Who was always getting scolded by the teachers for talking and laughing."
My school shirt was always tucked... "Out the minute school ended. It was just more comfortable. But I kept it tucked in while in school ’cos that was the rule."
The moment that defined my school experience: "Becoming very close friends with two of my schoolmates when I was 14. It has been 30 years and I still call them my best friends."
When it comes to bullying in school… "I wasn’t bullied, though I got into my fair share of trouble but let’s just leave it at that!"
Most memorable encounter with the school discipline master: "I got caught spinning my file on my finger while the teacher was conducting lessons. The discipline master thought I should showcase my ‘talent’ at assembly the next day in front of the whole school."
My school crush experience: "I was from the all-boys St Joseph’s Institution, so I didn’t have a school crush back then. But I was quite a cool kid and [my friends and I] did make friends with lots of girls from the neighbouring schools. (Laughs)"
School nickname: “Lego, ’cos I was pocket-sized, ‘yellow’ [‘cos Simone is, um, Chinese-Australian], and had a bowl haircut, which was my pixie cut growing out. It looked like the clip-on hair that Lego figures have.”
I was the student… "Who was a nerd. A charismatic but annoying Type A overachiever like Hermione Granger. Looking back, I’d have hated me."
My school uniform shirt was always tucked… "In. And it was oversized and unattractive. I was on the student council…"
The moment that defined my school experience: “It was when I missed out on becoming head girl at the end of Year 11 [the equivalent of Secondary 4 in Australia’s high school system]. My sister had been head prefect for her year, and I think I expected the same for myself. That was my first taste of rejection for something I wanted, and it prepared me very well for showbiz. Following that, I got a scholarship to Switzerland and decided that I would have some fun at this additional year of school abroad instead of stressing myself out trying to be perfect the way I had been at my high school in Australia.”
When it comes to bullying in school… "Everyone bullies one another in high school in Australia. I developed a big sense of humour and a very fast tongue. People leave you alone when they learn you can give it as hard as you get it."
My school crush experience: "I had so many crushes and was always embarrassed but it was funny. After I left high school, a lot of those boys who didn’t like me back then tried to flirt with me. I guess my appearance changed a lot with age. (Laughs)"
School nickname: "Moth. Someone took a closer look at my full name and saw Tim-MOTH-y… It’s one of the reasons why I’ve shortened my name to just Tim."
I was the student… "Who was the cheeky monkey, always playing the fool and pranking my buddies."
My school uniform shirt was always tucked… "In, but the trend was to pull it out as much as possible without the shirt actually getting untucked. It was quite ‘beng’, and yes, I also carried an orange comb."
When it comes to bullying in school… "I was one of the smaller kids but my buddies were the biggest so no one really messed with me."
Most memorable encounter with the school discipline master: “When he caught me trying to get out of attending chapel after class and sent me for detention. I spent a Saturday morning writing some random essay that nobody read in the end.”
My school crush experience: I went to an all-boys school, St Andrew’s Secondary School, so the only ‘crush’ I had was when when my two giant friends thought it would be funny to run at me from opposite directions and ‘crush’ me in the middle."
School nickname: "Jeanie Weenie. It has morphed into "Jeanie Beanie" these days. Yasminne calls me that. Tim just calls me "beanz"."
I was the student… “Whom you could call an overachiever. I excelled in track and field and represented my school in the nationals. I also organised and hosted events, concerts and funfairs, and did okay in my studies too. And I was the vice head prefect. I still have my school uniform! It was what I wore to this party.”
The moment that defined my school experience: "Honestly, it was getting good grades for my ‘O’ Levels that allowed me to apply for Ngee Ann Poly’s Mass Communications course. I already knew that I wanted to be a radio presenter since I was in Secondary 2, so that was exactly where I wanted to study.”
My school crush experience: "I didn’t have any crushes ’cos I attended the all-girl Marymount Convent. But there were one or two boys whom I had complete crushes on at my secondary school catechism classes at the Church of the Risen Christ. I didn’t really care about boys till a lot later. All I cared about was fulfilling my radio DJ dreams. Boys were a waste of time lah!"
School nickname: "I don’t remember having any nicknames. (Laughs)"
I was the student… "Who was not a nerd, but I wasn’t super naughty either. But in kindergarten I once bit a boy till he bled, and my mum told me it was ’cos I didn’t like his face."
The moment that defined my school experience was… "When my Chinese and History teachers both pulled me aside and asked me if I was studying ’cos back then I wasn’t very studious and liked to play. They told me I [had the potential] do well, and I was very touched. And from then on, I studied purely for them."
When it comes to bullying in school… “I bribed the school bullies with sweets so I could ride on the school’s [communal] bicycles first. But there was once I rode the school bus home with a St Nicholas Girls’ senior who usually alighted after me. That day the driver dropped her off first and she said to me, “Ohhh, he’s not going to send you home.” I was so scared! But when I told my mum she said, “Why you anyhow believe that [senior]?!” (Laughs)”
PHOTOS: WILSON PANG